Archive for September, 2012

Quebec in the News

Since Quebec is in the news today, I offer this comment by Louis Joseph Papineau. He is speaking in Lower Canada’s Legislative Assembly in 1830. (I apologize for the incomplete reference.)

“[Britain’s] best laws have become ours, while our faith, our property, and the laws by which they were governed have been conserved … Now religious tolerance, trial by jury, the wisest guarantee which has ever been established for the protection of innocence; security against arbitrary imprisonment, thanks to the privilege of the habeas corpus, equal protection guaranteed by law to the person, honor, and property of citizens, the right to obey only laws made by us and adopted by our representatives – all these have become our birthright, and will be, I hope, the lasting heritage of our posterity.

Papineau was not always as enthusiastic about British rule and British rights as I do not need to say. In the Rebellions of 1837 and 38, he took up arms took up arms against colonial authorities. By then the flaw in the Constitutional Act, 1791, the Act that gave Upper and Lower Canada representative assemblies had become apparent to all.